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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

 

Policies

Absenteeism and Tardiness

The Program follows the attendance policies as outlined by the Vanderbilt Department of Radiation Oncology.
The student's total record of occurrences, regardless of cause, will be reviewed by the Program Director monthly and upon completion of the Program. Time exceeding the five sick days allotted for absence will be made up by adding the excess time on to the end of the program.

Absences and Tardiness

An occurrence as used in this document refers to an episode of unscheduled tardiness or absence. Tardiness in excess of 5 minutes is an occurrence. Absence is considered an occurrence in the following circumstances: a full day; consecutive days (e.g. an illness of several days duration is one occurrence); each didactic course missed during a course counts as one occurrence. Unexcused tardiness for two classes is considered one occurrence. Absence from the Program due to hospitalization will not count as occurrences under this policy.

Sick Leave

Sick leave is marked on the logbook as "S" during clinical time. If a student is present for part of the day, hours present are recorded in the appropriate place on the logbook. The course instructor will note didactic attendance. Sick leave may be taken for personal illness or for the illness of a relative who is either living in the student's household or who is totally dependent upon the student.

Scheduled Sick Leave

Scheduled sick leave (doctor or dentist appointments, etc.) should be planned with the Program Director as far in advance as possible and be scheduled during clinic hours. Scheduled leave does not count as an occurrence.

A minimum of one-week notice in writing is required. This request must be approved by the Program Director. Shorter notice may be accepted under extenuating circumstances.

Unscheduled Sick Leave

The student must personally telephone the Education Coordinator, and the clinical instructor of the area to which he/she is assigned as soon as the area is open to report illness. The student must also call the Clinical Coordinator and report illness. If the Clinical Coordinator is not available, the student must inform the Program Director. If neither Clinical Coordinator nor Program Director can be reached, the student can leave a message on the voice mail system for either the Clinical Coordinator or Program Director. Notification by another person is not acceptable except in cases of dire illness. This procedure must be followed on each day of a continuing illness. Failure to follow the aforementioned notification guidelines may result in immediate disciplinary action.

Tardiness

Each student is to give the clinical instructor their time sheet when they arrive at the clinical site to enter accurate time of arrival and at the end of each day to record the time they leave. A Clinical Instructor must also sign his or her initials each day at time of arrival and departure from the clinical setting. Students are not permitted to sign in for each other. Such an event would be considered falsification of documents and would be handled as a major infraction. Tardiness in excess of five minutes is an occurrence.

Documentation and Disciplinary Process

Occurrences are the basis for determining the need for disciplinary action.

It is the responsibility of the Program Educational Coordinator to keep a record of absence and tardiness for each student. Each occurrence is discussed with the student and documented by the Program Educational Coordinator, Clinical Coordinator or Program Director on the Student Conference Record within twenty-four hours of the student's return to the Program. A copy of the completed Student Conference record is given to the student as well as placing one in the student's file.

Absence or Tardiness Requiring Disciplinary Action

A student is considered in violation of program attendance policy after three occurrences within 90 calendar days and is subject to the disciplinary process. This may be a combination of absence, tardiness, and failure to follow outlined guidelines. Unscheduled absences adjacent to holidays or scheduled leave count as two occurrences

Progressive Steps of Action

  1. Verbal Conference
  2. Guidance
  3. Probation
  4. Dismissal

Process

At any given time, only the most recent 90 calendar day period of a student's record will be reviewed to determine the need for disciplinary action.

  1. For each occurrence in a time frame, which does not meet the criteria for disciplinary action, a verbal conference is conducted with the student by the Program Director or Program Educational Coordinator and is documented. This record is kept on file.
  2. For a subsequent occurrence in the time frame, which meets the criteria for disciplinary action, a student Conference Record is completed placing the student on Guidance. This record is kept on file by the Program Director
  3. Guidance is a disciplinary action for a specified period of time as stated. Any occurrence during the guidance period will result in changing the student status to probationary.
  4. Probation is a disciplinary action for a specified period of time as stated. Any occurrence during the probationary status may result in termination of student status unless the Program Director with the Advisory Committee determines that mitigating circumstances exist.
  5. Any student who has an absence due to illness while on guidance or probation must have certification in writing by a physician and may be considered a mitigating circumstance.

Holidays

The Program follows the holiday schedule observed by the Vanderbilt Department of Radiation Oncology.

Academic Integrity

The Program in Radiation Therapy expects and requires academic honesty from all students enrolled. Cheating, plagiarism or falsification of documents will not be tolerated and appropriate sanctions will be imposed, which may include one or more of the following:

  1. Repeat of assignment
  2. Assigning a failing grade for the assignment
  3. Assigning a failing grade for the course
  4. Suspend the student (Advisory Committee action)
  5. Dismiss the student (Advisory Committee action)

Action procedures are as follows:

  1. If an act of academic dishonesty occurs, the instructor will notify the student of the alleged infraction and the action being taken. The instructor and Program Director will give in a private setting and in writing such notice. The Advisory Committee will be notified.
  2. The Advisory Committee will act within five working days of said occurrence to review and consider course of action. The course of action mandated by the Advisory Committee is the final step within the program. The student will be informed in writing of the action of the Advisory Committee within three (3) working days of the directive.
  3. A student who is not satisfied that the issue has been fairly decided, may request a review by an arbitrator not connected with the Program. The arbitrator will review all aspects and respond in writing within one week. This decision is final.

Academic Standards

New Student Probationary Standing

Upon entering the program, each student is on new student probation. This lasts for the first four months of the program. During this time period, any failure of a didactic course or clinical rotation, which occurs when an overall 75% is not maintained, will result in automatic dismissal from the program. Upon successful completion of the new student probation, the student is removed from the probationary status. To be considered in "good standing" and having made satisfactory academic progress, a student must:

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative didactic and clinical grade average of 75%
  • Not be on probation due to any conduct of a nonprofessional nature as outlined under "Professional Conduct and Behavior".

Grading Standards

The Vanderbilt Department of Radiation Oncology Program in Radiation Therapy reserves the right to dismiss students whose clinical and/or academic performance does not meet the standards and policies of the program or the institution.

Minimum grade average for program completion is 75%. Passing grade for each course is 75%. The grading scale is as follows:

  • A = 93-100%
  • B = 84-92%
  • C = 75-83%
  • F = < 75%

Students must achieve the 75% average at the end of each course, including the final exam, to pass that course. There is no minimum grade for any one test.

In any course that does not have a comprehensive final examination, at least 75% of the given examinations must be passed in addition to maintaining a 75% overall average to satisfactorily complete the course.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

A student is considered maintaining satisfactory academic progress if he/she maintains a 75 percent academic and clinical grade. Academic course work is evaluated by the course facilitator using an A – F rating scale as indicated in the Student Handbook. Rotations are evaluated after a 5 week completed rotation by a clinical preceptor utilizing a likert scale of 1 to 5 with 3 indicating meets performance expectations. Should the student fail to complete the requirements of either satisfactorily, he/she may be granted additional time not to exceed the allocated time of the sum of remaining vacation dates and breaks. Once the corrective action successfully occurs, the student will be re-instated and, if a Title IV Financial Aid Recipient, eligibility for financial aid will be restored. If unable to satisfactorily complete the requirements after "special" consideration, the student will be asked to withdraw. Failure to withdraw will warrant an assignment of "F" (Failure) and renders the students' "special" consideration void. If the student chooses to withdraw, he/she may request the option of re-enrolling the next academic year at the point of withdrawal. At that point, the student must complete the program uninterrupted with a satisfactory academic and clinical grade in the remaining time allotted by the program which concludes in August following the date of re-enrollment. The student's GPA will be un-affected as long as the student "officially" withdraws.

Additionally in order to maintain satisfactory academic and clinical progress, the student must not violate any "Professional Conduct and Behavior" items indicated in the student handbook.

Dismissal

Academic Dismissal

For the first four months after entering the program, each student is on new student probation. During this period of time, any failure of a didactic course or clinical rotation, which occurs when an overall 75% is not maintained, will result in automatic dismissal from the program. Appeal to the Advisory Committee is not an option during the new student probationary period.

After satisfactory completion of said probationary period, a student must attain a 75% or better average in each course. If a 75% average is not maintained in any course after the probationary period, the student may elect to either resign voluntarily from the program or petition the Advisory Committee for continued attendance in the program.

If the Advisory Committee is petitioned to review the circumstances leading to dismissal for continued program attendance, it will review the student's performance and make a recommendation for either remediation or dismissal. The student may speak on his or her own behalf then will be notified of the results of the Advisory Committee review within three working days. Details of remediation are left to the discretion of the Advisory Committee. If remediation is allowed, the failing, as well as remediated grade will be reflected on the student's transcript.

If a student's academic performance warrants dismissal, as mandated by the Advisory Committee, the student will be notified in writing within three working days. The student's permanent records and transcripts will reflect this action.

Clinical Dismissal

Clinical causes for dismissal include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Covering up mistakes or falsifying radiation therapy treatment records
  2. Inappropriate discussion of diagnosis or prognosis with patient or patient's family
  3. Gross insubordination or negligence to carry out reasonable orders or requests from physicians or clinical instructors
  4. Treating patients without the presence of a clinical instructor
  5. Assuming responsibilities not within a student's competence
  6. Breaching patient confidentiality
  7. Failure of a clinical rotation during a clinical probationary period

Clinical causes for disciplinary action include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Unexcused absence from the assigned treatment unit.
  2. Lack of cooperation with staff
  3. Failure to report patient related incidents warranting a report

Disciplinary actions for rule infractions follow steps of progressive discipline as follows:

  1. Oral discussion
  2. Written guidance
  3. Probation
  4. Dismissal

If a student's clinical performance warrants dismissal (with the exception of failing a clinical rotation during a clinical probationary period), the members of the Advisory Committee will be informed and a meeting will be called to review the case. The student will receive an official written notice of the Advisory Committee meeting. The student will be informed in writing of the Advisory Committee's decision within three working days. Said action will be reflected in both the student's permanent file and transcript.

If a student fails a clinical rotation evaluation, the student is placed on clinical probation for a period of three months. During the probationary period, the student must successfully pass all clinical rotation evaluations and meet all clinical objectives to be reinstated into "good standing". If the student fails a clinical rotation during a clinical probationary period, the student is immediately dismissed from the program without recourse.

If a student fails a clinical rotation with less than three months remaining prior to graduation, the three-month probationary period may extend the overall length of the clinical education. In this scenario, the student would still need to successfully complete the three-month probation to successfully complete the program. The student will not be certified as having completed the program until these mandates have been fulfilled and he/she may not be able to take the ARRT examination in Radiation Therapy until then.

Financial Aid Eligibility

As stated, to be considered in "good standing" and having made "satisfactory academic progress", a student must:

  1. Maintain a minimum cumulative didactic and clinical grade average of 75%
  2. Not be on probation due to any conduct of a nonprofessional nature as outlined under "Professional Conduct and Behavior"

The time frames for completion of the certificate program shall be one academic year. Any student receiving a failing grade in a didactic course after the initial probation period will remain eligible for financial aid only if the course is allowed to be remediated as determined by the Advisory Committee.

Didactic Evaluation

The number of tests, weighting assigned each test, final exam and homework, are at the discretion of the instructor, with the stipulation that students be told the method of evaluation at the beginning of said course. Students are given objectives at the beginning of each course.

Instructors submit a course outline and lesson plan along with the method of evaluation to the Program Director before the course begins. The submitted outline is reviewed by the Program Director and the Curriculum Review Committee to ensure that all course objectives are met and methodologies of instruction approved.

If, during a course, the evaluation method turns out to be unworkable, the Program Director, along with the Curriculum Review Committee, may revise the evaluation methods and institute a more feasible plan. Any and all changes resulting from this process will be forwarded to each student in writing.

Make Up Tests & Exams

There will be no make up tests or exams in the event of failure. Students may be permitted to make up an exam missed due to illness or other legitimate absence. The Program Director may request a physician's certification before allowing a student to make up an exam due to illness. Substitute evaluation methods may be used at the discretion of the Program Director and course instructor.

Right of Review

Students Right to Review Records/Release of Student Records

The Program in Radiation Therapy complies with the "Federal Family Educational Right and Privacy Act of 1974". This document is also called the Buckley Amendment. A copy is maintained in the Program Office.

Student files and records are kept locked in the program office and the student has the right to inspect and/or review any of his/her own official records or files with the Program Director or Program Clinical Coordinator. No one but the student may inspect his/her record with the exceptions noted in the aforementioned document.

School records may be released by the student by signing and dating a release of information form to give consent to release his/her record to other persons or agencies. On this form, the student must indicate the records to be released and to whom they are to be sent.

Professional Conduct and Behavior

As students, you are entering professional education provided through the Program in Radiation Therapy. It is important to realize that professionalism in radiation therapy includes more than theoretical understanding and accurate technical performance of procedures. It also involves the internalization of the appropriate attitudes and behaviors that are common to all professions.

It is the goal of The Vanderbilt Department of Radiation Oncology Radiation Therapy Program to provide the radiation therapy professional community with well-rounded, competent therapists. In order to do this, students will demonstrate these professional attributes and behaviors as they demonstrate skills and necessary knowledge pertinent to the field of Radiation Therapy. To help the student achieve this type of learning, he/she will be frequently reminded of and evaluated on the kinds of behaviors that reflect a professional position on such values as:

  1. Concern for patient welfare
  2. Integrity
  3. Responsibility
  4. Initiative
  5. Dependability
  6. Conscientiousness
  7. Interpersonal interactions
  8. Self-confidence
  9. Reaction to criticism
  10. Adherence to policies and procedures

Throughout the program, both students and instructors will use evaluation forms covering practical interpretations of these criteria in order to achieve a high level of professionalism as graduates of this program.

The program abides by the Vanderbilt University Staff Handbook Policies and Procedures. A copy of this document is kept for review in the Program Director's office. The handbook is also on the Internet at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/HRS/hrs.htm.

Actions that involve dishonesty, violation of the law, or material risks to University operations or to the safety or well being of oneself or others are grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • unauthorized removal or destruction of property belonging to others, including the University, co-workers or customers, including discarded, excess or found property
  • unauthorized use of University resources for personal gain
  • possessing an unauthorized weapon on University time or premises
  • threatening or hitting another person on University time or premises
  • refusing to obey a direct instruction from a supervisor
  • dishonesty or falsification of University records, including program application and time records
  • unauthorized absence from the clinic that is not accurately reflected on time records
  • conviction of a crime involving dishonesty, violence, or other behavior that impairs suitability for registry eligibility
  • failure to report a criminal conviction to the program director within five days of conviction
  • illicit use, possession, or distribution of drugs or alcohol on University time or premises
  • gross negligence or violation of safety rules that may result in significant injury or loss
  • sleeping during class or clinical time
  • absence of three consecutive days without authorization
  • major or repeated violation of the University's harassment policies
  • disclosing information the University considers confidential
  • unauthorized use of University phones for long distance calls
  • academic dishonesty

Program Calendar Overview

Length:

Approximately twelve months beginning in August (usually the last Monday) at the time that the Vanderbilt University classes begin.

Holidays:

The Program will observe all holidays granted and observed by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. This includes, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Vacation:

Ten vacation days are provided each year. These days are scheduled as one week between Christmas and New Years Day and one week of Spring Break.

Sick Days:

There are five sick days provided for unscheduled sick leave or doctor or dentist appointments (scheduled sick leave). Unused sick time may not be taken as vacation. If more than five days are needed during the year, the student may ask the program director for permission to compensate for missed time by replacing vacation days with clinical hours.

Interview Day:

One day is allowed per year to interview for employment opportunities. Appropriate documentation is necessary for use of this scheduled time off. In the event that employment is secured before all time is utilized, remaining interview days may be used as personal time upon approval by the program director.

If additional time is required beyond the cases listed above, the student may request scheduled leave. Each case will be assessed individually by the Program Director, who may request review by the Advisory Committee.

Re-enrollment

The Program reserves the right to extend the option of re-enrollment to students who resign or are dismissed from the Program. This option to re-enroll is not offered to students dismissed from or asked to resign from the Program for an infraction of Program rules and policies, except as stated in the following paragraphs:

  1. A student who withdraws from the Program due to illness or change in personal or financial circumstances, and is otherwise in good standing both academically and clinically may request and receive special consideration if he/she wishes to re-enroll at a future date. The Advisory Committee, along with the Program Director, will decide if the student can return to the program or if the student will need to reapply the following year.
  2. If a student is dismissed or withdraws from the Program due to academic failure, but has met all the other requirements, he/she may request the option of re-enrolling, if the student demonstrates proof of remedial academic work done outside the institution in courses recommended by the Program Director or the Advisory Committee. A minimum grade of 2.5 on a scale of 4 will be required in the form of an official transcript from the outside institution

The Program Director or Advisory Committee may extend the latter option but will not reserve a place for students who indicate at the time of termination that they intend to do remedial work and re-enroll. They will be considered as new applicants along with the other applicants for that academic year.

Voluntary Withdrawal

Should a student make the decision to withdraw from a program in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Programs in Allied Health, written notification to his/her Program Director is required. A student wishing to resign must notify the Program Director in writing ten working days prior to the date of withdrawal unless an emergency situation dictates otherwise. Email is not acceptable. The student may indicate a date of withdrawal that is other than the date of the letter, providing the student continues to attend up to the date of withdrawal stated. If the student is absent for more than two (2) consecutive days without approval of his/her Program Director, they will be considered “unofficially withdrawn” and the last documented day of attendance will be used as his/her official withdrawal date. The student is required to immediately return all items (keys, ID tags, etc.) that are the property of Vanderbilt University Medical Center to their Program Director. See Refund Policy as it relates to any possible return of tuition to the student as a result of his/her withdrawal. Revised January, 2007

Grievance Procedure

The right to review is extended to students in the Program in Radiation Therapy. The problem situation will be channeled in the following manner:

Step 1 – Within three days of incidence, the student presents an oral explanation of the problem to the Program Director, relating all aspects of it completely. The Program Director or Program Clinical Coordinator will investigate the problem, including necessary discussions, and respond with a written answer to the student within three days.

Step 2 – If the student is not satisfied with the Program Director’s response, he/she has the right to submit a written request for a meeting with the Advisory Committee of the Program. This written request has to be sent within three days of receiving the written answer from the Program Director and/or Clinical Coordinator. The Advisory Committee will make a decision and respond it in writing to the student within one week.

Step 3 – If a student is still not satisfied that the problem has been fairly decided, he/she may request a review by an arbitrator not connected with the program. This request must be in writing and be received by the arbitrator within five working days after student has received written decision from the Advisory Committee. The arbitrator will review all aspects and respond in writing within one week. This decision is final.

As this program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), a student may contact the JRCERT regarding issues that he/she feels violate the JRCERT Standards for an accredited program in Radiation Therapy, or if a student has questions regarding these standards. E-mail: mail@jrcert.org

Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2850
Chicago, IL 60606-3182
Phone: (312) 704-5300, FAX: (312) 704-5304

Revised March 2008

Steps of Progressive Discipline

Should a student's performance or conduct become less than desirable after he/she has completed the initial new student probation period, the following progressive multiple warning approach to corrective discipline will be used.

Oral Discussion

An oral discussion of the problem should be conducted in private with the Program Director or Program Clinical Coordinator or Clinical Education Supervisor, allowing the student to offer an explanation or justification. If inadequate justification or satisfactory explanation is offered, the Program Director, Program Clinical Coordinator or Clinical Education Supervisor should put the student on notice that if unsatisfactory performance or misconduct is continued, more severe action will be taken. In doing so, it should make clear that the only purpose is to correct an unacceptable situation, that there is no wish to penalize the student and no intent to threaten. A written report on the contents of said session will be kept by the Program Director and a copy kept in the student's file.

Written Guidance

During this review with the student, the Program Director must always point out prior attempts, through instruction and oral discussion, to achieve compliance. If the student is unable to satisfactorily explain a continued substandard performance or misconduct, the Program Director will then complete a guidance report, putting the student on guidance for a thirty (30) to ninety (90) day period.

As soon as the guidance period is over, if the deficiency has been corrected, the Program Director will so advise the student in writing. If, however, the deficiency has not been corrected, the Program Director will take the next step of disciplinary action and place the student on probation through appropriate measures involving the Advisory Committee.

Probation Notice

Probation is a serious step in the disciplinary process. For that reason, before a student is placed on probation, the Program Director must review the circumstances with two (2) members of the Advisory Committee. Probation is normally for a specified period of time. The probation notice goes into and remains in the student's personal file. When a student has satisfied the requirements of probation, the Program Director will fill in the "date removed from probation" on the copy of the probation notice and return it to the Advisory Committee. Each student is allowed only one probationary period during the year, inclusive of both clinical and didactic work.

Dismissal

A student who, despite the preliminary steps described above, continues to violate acceptable standards of performance or behavior may be subject to dismissal. This serious step is never taken against a student without concurrence of the Program Director, the Department Head, and the Advisory Committee. This multiple consensus is not a perfunctory one, but is intended to assure that facts and circumstances fully warrant dismissal and that the student involved has been given every reasonable consideration before such a decision is made.

Student Appeal Process - Academic

If a student disagrees with the grade assigned she/he should first discuss this with the course instructor. If not satisfied with the results of this discussion, the student may take the matter to the Program Education Coordinator or Program Director. If the student wishes to pursue the matter beyond the Program official contacted, the next step would be to request review of the matter by the Program Advisory Committee. Any member of the committee may be contacted to request this review. The Advisory Committee will meet within five working days of a written request for review and give its decision within three working days of meeting. The Advisory Committee's decision is the final step within the program.

Student Appeal Process - Professional Conduct

Any student who feels that the performance or conduct actions taken are not consistent with University or Program policy has the right to appeal to the Program Advisory Committee. The grievance process is not available if the student chooses to resign from the program, even if the resignation is in lieu of dismissal, since the student initiated the action. Any student who thinks that the program does not fulfill its obligations as an accredited program in Radiation Therapy may contact the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, 20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60606-2901. Phone: (312) 704-5300, FAX: (312) 704-5304, E-mail: mail@jrcert.org.

Student Clinical Hours

The hours for students are not to exceed 40 hours per week; hours may fluctuate throughout the academic year as necessary. No night or weekend call is required.

The morning and afternoon breaks are 15 minutes during the clinical rotations. Only 15 minutes are permitted.

The lunch period is one (1) hour long. Lunch may be taken in the cafeteria, employee lounge, or off premises.

When the students are not in their assigned clinical area, it is required that they let the clinical education instructor/supervisor or Program Clinical Coordinator/Program Director know where they are.

The Program Director/Program Clinical Coordinator/Clinical Education Supervisor shall be notified of any absence from the department. Students are not permitted to leave early without authorization from a Program official. Non-adherence to this will result in disciplinary action.

Students are not to ask the clinical instructors for permission to leave their assigned areas early or to go to the classroom to study. However, if the therapists are finished with the daily patient treatments, they may refer the student to the appropriate Program official for possible early dismissal.

Student Clinical Supervision

All clinical experience in Radiation Therapy shall be under direct supervision. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology defines direct supervision as "a registered radiation therapist being present while any treatment is being administered". The supervising professional must check all student activities (e.g. set-ups, calculations, etc.) before the treatment is given. Students must not accept responsibility for administering radiation therapy treatments.

The clinical experience of the student is a planned part of the educational program. The clinical experience of the student is governed by sound clinical objectives and the progress of the student is evaluated and the results used in the overall evaluation of the students.

Students Working in Radiation Therapy

Students may not take the place or responsibility of qualified staff. Students may be employed in the field of study outside of regular educational hours provided the work does not interfere with regular academic responsibilities. The work must be non-compulsory, paid, and subject to employee regulations.